Dirck van Baburen was born in Utrecht, The Nederlands, in 1595. After studying painting in Utrecht with Paulus Moreelse, a portraitist and history painter, he traveled (circa 1612) to Rome, where his style became strongly influenced by the work of the Italian painter Caravaggio, whose dramatic contrasts between light and dark he found particularly fascinating. His most important Italian commission was the decoration of a chapel in the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome (1615-20), which included his "Entombment" (1617). He carried out this commission together with his friend and colleague David de Haen.
In 1620, Baburen returned to Utrecht, where he shared a studio with Hendrick Ter Brugghen. Although he died in 1624, he played a leading role in establishing Utrecht as a stronghold of the 'Caravaggesque' style. The Utrecht artists adopted Caravaggio's chiaroscuro and realism. As Caravaggio, who often painted ordinary labourers, they chose models with weather-beaten faces and often portrayed them larger than life and dramatically lit from one side. The influence of Caravaggio may be seen in his "Christ Crowned with Thorns".
Baburen was especially fond of genre scenes, such as his best-known work, "The Procuress". This picture is seen in the background of two paintings by Vermeer, whose mother-in-law apparently owned it. A certain coarseness in conception, irregular compositional rhythms, and less atmospheric quality distinguish Baburen's art from that of his greater contemporaries, but his manner of painting can be said to be broad and forceful.